A Natural and Homemade Chemical Peel Recipe

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Homemade Chemical Peel

Not too long ago I wrote an article on how to get and keep clear skin. I mentioned natural fruit acids that act as a natural, homemade chemical peel, sloughing off old dead skin to reveal the newer looking skin underneath.  Today I’ll go into detail about what chemical peels are and how they benefit your skin. Then I’ll show you how to make your own.

What is a chemical peel?

There are a few types of chemical peels. They are applied to your skin, most often on the face, and then over then next few days the skin will start to pull away or “peel.” It is most often used on scarred skin, such as acne scars or burns. Over time, the new skin has less and less of the scarred material and new skin is allowed to come to the surface.

There are mild peels, such as those with glycolic (fruit based) acid, and harsher ones such as trichloroacetic acid (like a very strong vinegar) or phenol. The peels used with phenol tend to lighten the skin and are ususally only used in extreme situations.

Most salons or spas use glycolic acid in a form that is much stronger than just plain fruit juice. Sometimes dry ice is used in place of glycolic acid as it will yield the same results.

Why do a homemade chemical peel?

A homemade, natural chemical peel helps you control the ingredients and avoid all the toxic elements of the store-bought versions.

Almost all of us have some scarring of some sort on our bodies. I have a scar on the inside of my arm from some barbed wire after falling off of a cow. (They do NOT like to be saddled, by the way!) I have another on my knee from rock climbing near the river. These aren’t large and they don’t bother my self esteem at all. However, scars like burns, perhaps on the neck or arms, or severe acne scars on the face can lead to low self esteem and even send people into hiding. This is where chemical peels can greatly benefit you.

I like to do a chemical peel once a month just to be sure there is nothing left behind on my skin after my normal beauty routine.

Natural Homemade Chemical Peel

You can go very mild with this recipe or go for a deeper peel with stronger acids. The variations are listed after the recipe.


  • 1 small cucumber, seeded and pureed (about 1 cup)
  • 1 package or 1 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin (find it here)
  • a few drops natural liquid meat tenderizer (find it here) OR ¼ tsp. powdered meat tenderizer (like this)
  • a dash of ground cinnamon (adding too much may irritate skin)
  • water if necessary


  1. Place the cucumber inside a medium sized bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin. Add a little water if it doesn’t start to dissolve.
  2. Sprinkle the meat tenderizer and cinnamon over the cucumber mixture and stir well to combine. The gelatin will dissolve and become pasty. Add water if you need to make it spreadable.
  3. Spread this over your face and allow it to dry, 15-20 minutes.
  4. When completely dry, start at the jaw line and slowly peel from your face. Rinse off any residue and follow with moisturizer if you wish.

Note: You can do this once a month, but no more often as it may irritate skin.


Cucumber is the most mild, but you can substitute other ingredients for this.

  • Papaya and pineapple contain papain and bromelain, both of which are used in tenderizing meats. This is why I add a small amount of meat tenderizer to the recipe. You can omit the meat tenderizer and use pureed fruit instead.
  • Pumpkin has a great deal of fruit acids. You can steam some fresh pumpkin or use it from the can. (Be sure it’s plain pumpkin and not pie mix.)
  • Avocados are high in acid too, and have added moisturizers.
  • Tomatoes are another good choice. The newer hybrid tomatoes are lower in acid, but are still great for this type of application. Use fresh puree or juice.
  • Sugar can work well too. Sugar cane is high in acid and makes a great chemical peel. Use the same amount as you would puree or juice.

Want to go even milder? Used a pureed apple. They are mildly acidic.

Want to go deeper? Try lemon or lime juice. The possibilities are endless as long as there is some acid to the fruit or vegetable you use.

Do you have a problem with acne? Crush an aspirin or two and add this to the mixture. The salicylic acid is one of the only things that dissolves blackheads. The cinnamon in the recipe should help to keep new blackheads from forming.

Final Notes

Most people need to use a moisturizer afterwards. You’ll notice right away how much softer your skin will feel. You can use this on other parts of your body, such as the legs or arms. Be very careful using it near sensitive areas.

If you are treating scars, skip the moisturizing after the chemical peel and instead apply a mixture of a few drops lavender essential oil and Vitamin E oil. This will help with the regeneration of new skin cells and soften the look of scars. It may take several peels to reduce the look of deeper scars.

Have you ever used a chemical peel? Tell us how it worked!


About Debra Maslowski

Debra is a master gardener, a certified herbalist, a natural living instructor, and more. She taught Matt and Betsy how to make soap so they decided to bring her on as a staff writer! Debra recently started an organic herb farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina. You can even purchase her handmade products on Amazon!

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  1. Alexandra says

    Hello, ty for sharing you knowledge !
    Wanted to ask u if I could combine let’s say tomatoe with lemon juice ,or avocado? I have acne scaring that I want to treat.
    I have also heard that we shouldn’t put lemon juice straight on the face because it’s too acidic. But it sounds from what u are saying that that’s the piont of a chemical peel …?

  2. Deb says

    I was so excited to try the lemon juice! I used a cup of lemon juice, subbing for the cup of cucumber. Followed the recipe but it didn’t thicken. Added more gelatin until it was kind of like applesauce. When dry, it wouldn’t peel off. Kinda defeats the purpose of a peel. I really had to scrub to get it off. Well, at least I’m exfoliated. That’s the only benefit for me.

    • Debra Maslowski says

      Thy dissolving the gelatin in a small amount of hot water first, Deb, then adding it to the other ingredients. Sometimes gelatin may not dissolve all the way, and then won’t peel for the same reason. This should solve the problem.

  3. Katharina says

    Thank you for the article! Think I’ll give it a try. I just can’t find meat tenderizer in my country, is it very important?

    • Debra Maslowski says

      The meat tenderizer isn’t that important Katharina, but it does help to soften the skin so the rest of the solution can work. Try mashed pineapple or papaya or the juice from either. They contain the same compounds, just not in a concentrated form.

  4. Tammy says

    I have very bad acne scars and one day I spent $150 to get micro abrasive process and then they followed that with a chemical peal which left my face as a scab for a week. When the scab came off I was amazed at the skin that was revealed. I was soooo happy with the results.

    • Debra Maslowski says

      Yep, sometimes there is scabbing, Tammy, but that’s nature’s way of letting the skin underneath heal. It’s well worth the effort, even if you have to do it a few times.

  5. Deb says

    I can’t wait to try this! I have scars that I’m self conscious about. I was considering tattoos to cover them, but if this works even a little bit, I will be happy!

  6. Kathie says

    Thanks so much for your website and for sharing your recipes :). This chemical mask sounds great, as I have a friend whose daughter has scars. How much lemon juice would I use in place of the cucumber?